tomato photoGreene County Soil & Water Conservation District (GCSWCD) assists Greene County farmers interested in participating in the statewide Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program. 


What is AEM?

AEM is a statewide, voluntary program led by the local Soil and Water Conservation Districts that helps farmers make sound economic and environmental decisions to help meet business objectives while preserving the state’s natural resources. GCSWCD AEM program staff help farmers by identifying environmental risks in their farm operation and offering conservation plans to address the concerns.


Five Tiers of AEM:

  • Tier 1 – Identify current activities, future plans, and potential environmental concerns through the completion of a Tier 1 Questionnaire.
  • Tier 2 – GCSWCD AEM program staff will visit the farm operation to view current practices and document land stewardship. Program staff will assess and prioritize any areas of concern.
  • Tier 3 - Conservation plans will be developed to address concerns and highlight any opportunities which may benefit the operation.
  • Tier 4 – Implement conservation plans using available assistance.
  • Tier 5 – Re-evaluation of continued and implemented farm practices over time.


Am I eligible for AEM?

Any farm operation is eligible to participate in the AEM program.


What topics does the AEM assessment address?

The questionnaire and the AEM assessment addresses topics such as:

  • Agriculture and the Community
  • Heavy Use Area Protection
  • Management of Feed Nutrients
  • Manure and Fertilizer Storage
  • Nutrient Management
  • Pasture and Livestock Odor Management
  • Pesticide Use and Storage
  • Petroleum and Oil Product Storage
  • Process Wash Water
  • Silage Storage
  • Soil, Forest, and Stream & Floodplain Management
  • Waste Disposal
  • Water-borne Pathogens
  • Watershed Site and Farmstead Water Supply Evaluation


Who will see the information collected about my operation?

Information gathered through the AEM program is confidential and will only be viewed by GCSWCD AEM program staff. The information is used to help the farm operation understand which farm practices to maintain or amend in order to help meet the farm’s goals.


Does the farm assessment have to be done more than once?

Not necessarily, but it may be needed for other programs. New York State Grown & Certified requires the farm operation to participate in AEM Tier 2 (or higher) every three years.


To learn more about AEM, visit the Department of Agriculture and Markets' Agricultural Environmental Management  page or contact the GCSWCD Main Office at 518-622-3620.